If retirement feels less like a possibility and more like an oncoming certainty, then it is time to respond. This is the time to firmly decide whether you want to “age in place” in your current home or relocate. This is when you work on sustaining the friendships you have made in your career, while also figuring out how to move into new social circles. Two important questions need answers: what do you want to do next, and how can you begin doing it?
This is also the moment to crunch the numbers, with new focus. How much can you live on per month in retirement, and how do the costs of living break down in your budget? Recurring health care expenses must also be included. Can you erase any major debts before retiring? How cautiously do you need to invest now, given that it could take your retirement fund several years to recover from a bear market as you are drawing it down? These questions may seem dizzying, but they need to be addressed. You may have had conversations about them in the past with financial professionals, and those conversations are worth continuing today, strengthened by a new perspective. Those talks may help you to determine the best course of action for your IRAs and workplace retirement plan accounts and just when to claim Social Security retirement benefits (you may apply four months prior to when you want to start receiving your benefits or three months prior to when you turn 62).1
SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS SET TO GROW 2.8% NEXT YEAR
In 2019, seniors collecting Social Security will get their biggest “raise” since 2012. Benefits are of course keeping up with the rise of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) that the federal government uses as a guide for cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). This 2019 adjustment follows a 2.0% boost in 2018. The last time benefits increased 2% or more in consecutive years was 2008-09.
Will this COLA be effectively eaten up by higher Medicare premiums? The non-partisan Senior Citizens League (which correctly predicted the amount of the 2019 benefits enlargement) thinks that will not be as common in 2019 as it was in 2018. Most of the approximately 5 million retirees with monthly benefits ranging from $600-634 could see their Medicare Part B premium consume their whole 2019 COLA, according to the SCL’s projections. In many retiree households, much of the 2019 benefits boost may go toward paying out-of-pocket medical expenses, higher Part B premiums, or both; the SCL notes that for about 30% of retirees, those two costs are absorbing 33-50% of Social Security benefits.2
ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
Fidelity Investments finds that fewer workers are borrowing from the employer-sponsored retirement plans it provides. In 2014, 22.3% of its retirement plan participants had outstanding loans. That fell to 20.6% this year.4
Securities offered through Concorde Investment Services, LLC (CIS), member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Concorde Asset Management, LLC (CAM), an SEC registered investment adviser. Alternative Wealth Group is independent of CIS and CAM.
This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty.